IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/cpr/ceprdp/6352.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Gender Roles and Technological Progress

Author

Listed:
  • Albanesi, Stefania
  • Olivetti, Claudia

Abstract

Until the early decades of the 20th century, women spent more than 60% of their prime-age years either pregnant or nursing. Since then, the introduction of infant formula reduced women's comparative advantage in infant care, by providing an effective breast milk substitute. In addition, improved medical knowledge and obstetric practices reduced the time cost associated with women's reproductive role. We explore the hypothesis that these developments enabled married women to increase their participation in the labour force, thus providing the incentive to invest in market skills, which in turn reduced their earnings differential with respect to men. We document these changes and develop a quantitative model that aims to capture their impact. Our results suggest that progress in medical technologies related to motherhood was essential to generate a significant rise in the participation of married women between 1920 and 1950, in particular those with young children.

Suggested Citation

  • Albanesi, Stefania & Olivetti, Claudia, 2007. "Gender Roles and Technological Progress," CEPR Discussion Papers 6352, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6352
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=6352
    Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Arijit Mukherji, 2002. "Can We Really Observe Hyperbolic Discounting?," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 391749000000000478, www.najecon.org.
    2. N/A, 2003. "Abstracts," Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies, Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, vol. 12(2), pages 251-270, September.
    3. Valerie A. Ramey & Neville Francis, 2009. "A Century of Work and Leisure," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 189-224, July.
    4. Larry E. JONES & Rodolfo E. MANUELLI & Ellen R. McGRATTAN, 2015. "Why Are Married Women Working so much ?," JODE - Journal of Demographic Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 75-114, March.
    5. R. H. Strotz, 1955. "Myopia and Inconsistency in Dynamic Utility Maximization," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 165-180.
    6. Browning, Martin & Francois Bourguignon & Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Valerie Lechene, 1994. "Income and Outcomes: A Structural Model of Intrahousehold Allocation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(6), pages 1067-1096, December.
    7. Goldin, Claudia, 1992. "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195072709.
    8. N/A, 2003. "Abstracts," Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Emerging Economies, Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, vol. 12(1), pages 131-154, March.
    9. John Knowles, 2005. "Why are Married Men Working So Much?," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-031, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
    10. Claudia Olivetti & Stefania Albanesi, 2005. "Home Production, Market Production and the Gender Wage Gap: Incentives and Expectations," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2005-013, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    11. Yoram Halevy, 2008. "Strotz Meets Allais: Diminishing Impatience and the Certainty Effect," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1145-1162, June.
    12. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Guillaume Vandenbroucke, 2005. "The Baby Boom and Baby Bust," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 183-207, March.
    13. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Mehmet Yorukoglu, 2005. "Engines of Liberation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 109-133.
    14. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner, 2009. "Marriage and Divorce since World War II: Analyzing the Role of Technological Progress on the Formation of Households," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2008, Volume 23, pages 231-276, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Efe A Ok & Yusufcan Masatlioglu, 2003. "A General Theory of Time Preferences," Levine's Bibliography 234936000000000089, UCLA Department of Economics.
    16. Alessandra Fogli & Raquel Fernandez, 2009. "Culture: An Empirical Investigation of Beliefs, Work, and Fertility," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 146-177, January.
    17. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 2002. "The Power of the Pill: Oral Contraceptives and Women's Career and Marriage Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 730-770, August.
    18. Jason G. Cummins & Giovanni L. Violante, 2002. "Investment-Specific Technical Change in the US (1947-2000): Measurement and Macroeconomic Consequences," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 5(2), pages 243-284, April.
    19. Galor, Oded & Weil, David N, 1996. "The Gender Gap, Fertility, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 374-387, June.
    20. Thaler, Richard, 1981. "Some empirical evidence on dynamic inconsistency," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 201-207.
    21. Alessandra Fogli & Laura Veldkamp, 2007. "Nature or Nurture? Learning and Female Labor Force Dynamics," Working Papers 07-11, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    22. Anke Gerber & Kirsten I.M. Rohde, 2007. "Anomalies In Intertemporal Choice?," Swiss Finance Institute Research Paper Series 07-12, Swiss Finance Institute.
    23. Sue Bowden & Avner Offer, 1994. "Household appliances and the use of time: the United States and Britain since the 1920s," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 47(4), pages 725-748, November.
    24. Paola Manzini & Marco Mariotti, 2007. "Choice over Time," Working Papers 605, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    25. Read, Daniel, 2001. "Is Time-Discounting Hyperbolic or Subadditive?," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 5-32, July.
    26. Maurizio Mazzocco, 2007. "Household Intertemporal Behaviour: A Collective Characterization and a Test of Commitment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 857-895.
    27. Stefania Albanesi & Claudia Olivetti, 2006. "Gender and Dynamic Agency: Theory and Evidence on the Compensation of Female Top Executives," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2006-061, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    28. Richard Blundell & Pierre-André Chiappori & Costas Meghir, 2005. "Collective Labor Supply with Children," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1277-1306, December.
    29. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1988. "Rational Household Labor Supply," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(1), pages 63-90, January.
    30. Charles Hirschman & Marilyn Butler, 1981. "Trends and differentials in breast feeding: An update," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 18(1), pages 39-54, February.
    31. Peter J. Hammond, 1976. "Changing Tastes and Coherent Dynamic Choice," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 43(1), pages 159-173.
    32. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre, 1997. "Introducing Household Production in Collective Models of Labor Supply," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 191-209, February.
    33. Shane Frederick & George Loewenstein & Ted O'Donoghue, 2002. "Time Discounting and Time Preference: A Critical Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 351-401, June.
    34. Tjalling C. Koopmans, 1959. "Stationary Ordinal Utility and Impatience," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 81, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    35. George Loewenstein & Drazen Prelec, 1992. "Anomalies in Intertemporal Choice: Evidence and an Interpretation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 573-597.
    36. Todd Sarver, 2008. "Anticipating Regret: Why Fewer Options May Be Better," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(2), pages 263-305, March.
    37. Svetlana Boyarchenko & Sergei Levendorskii, 2005. "Discount factors ex post and ex ante, and discounted utility anomalies," Microeconomics 0510013, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 13 Dec 2005.
    38. Peter Kuhn, 1985. "A General Equilibrium Model of 'Efficient' Unions," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 8508, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
    39. Read, Daniel & Roelofsma, Peter H. M. P., 2003. "Subadditive versus hyperbolic discounting: A comparison of choice and matching," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 140-153, July.
    40. Martha J. Bailey, 2006. "More Power to the Pill: The Impact of Contraceptive Freedom on Women's Life Cycle Labor Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(1), pages 289-320.
    41. Kreps, David M & Porteus, Evan L, 1978. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Dynamic Choice Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 185-200, January.
    42. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299.
    43. Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1993. "Working in the Market, Working at Home, and the Acquisition of Skills: A General-Equilibrium Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 893-907, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Hanno Lustig, "undated". "The Wealth-Consumption Ratio: A Litmus Test for Consumption-based Asset Pricing Models," UCLA Economics Online Papers 420, UCLA Department of Economics.
    2. Stefania Albanesi & Claudia Olivetti, 2016. "Gender Roles and Medical Progress," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(3), pages 650-695.
    3. Jawwad Noor, 2007. "Hyperbolic Discounting and the Standard," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000939, UCLA Department of Economics.
    4. Raquel Fernandez, 2007. "Culture as Learning: The Evolution of Female Labor Force Participation over a Century," NBER Working Papers 13373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Fernández, Raquel, 2007. "Culture as Learning: The Evolution of Female Labour Force Participation Over a Century," CEPR Discussion Papers 6451, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Tiago Cavalcanti & José Tavares, 2016. "The Output Cost of Gender Discrimination: A Model‐based Macroeconomics Estimate," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(590), pages 109-134, February.
    7. Matthias Doepke & Moshe Hazan & Yishay D. Maoz, 2015. "The Baby Boom and World War II: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(3), pages 1031-1073.
    8. Doepke, M. & Tertilt, M., 2016. "Families in Macroeconomics," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 1789-1891, Elsevier.
    9. Haaland, Venke Furre & Rege, Mari & Telle, Kjetil & Votruba, Mark, 2018. "The intergenerational transfer of the employment gender gap," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 132-146.
    10. Fernández, Raquel & Wong, Joyce Cheng, 2011. "The Disappearing Gender Gap: The Impact of Divorce, Wages, and Preferences on Education Choices and Women's Work," IZA Discussion Papers 6046, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    11. Suqin Ge & Fang Yang, 2013. "Accounting For The Gender Gap In College Attainment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 478-499, January.
    12. Greenwood, Jeremy & Seshadri, Ananth, 2005. "Technological Progress and Economic Transformation," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 19, pages 1225-1273, Elsevier.
    13. Fernández, Raquel & Wong, Joyce Cheng, 2011. "The Disappearing Gender Gap: The Impact of Divorce, Wages, and Preferences on Education Choices and Women's Work," CEPR Discussion Papers 8627, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Raquel Fernández & Joyce Cheng Wong, 2011. "The Disappearing Gender Gap: The Impact of Divorce, Wages, and Preferences on Education Choices and Women's Work," NBER Working Papers 17508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Christian Bredemeier & Falko Jüßen, 2009. "Household Labor Supply and Home Services in a General-Equilibrium Model with Heterogeneous Agents," Ruhr Economic Papers 0091, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    16. Raquel Fernández & Joyce C. Wong, 2014. "Divorce Risk, Wages, and Working Wives: A Quantitative Life-Cycle Analysis of Female Labor Force Participation," NBER Working Papers 19869, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. repec:zbw:rwirep:0091 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Claudia Olivetti, 2006. "Changes in Women's Hours of Market Work: The Role of Returns to Experience," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(4), pages 557-587, October.
    19. Tiago V. de V. Cavalcanti & José Tavares, 2008. "Assessing the "Engines of Liberation": Home Appliances and Female Labor Force Participation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 81-88, February.
    20. Marco Casari, 2009. "Pre-commitment and flexibility in a time decision experiment," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 117-141, April.
    21. Bar, Michael & Leukhina, Oksana, 2005. "Accounting for Changes in Labor Force Participation of Married Women: The Case of the U.S. since 1959," MPRA Paper 17264, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jun 2009.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    female labour force participation; gender earnings gap; medical progress;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J13 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Fertility; Family Planning; Child Care; Children; Youth
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6352. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://www.cepr.org .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.